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8 Alternative Jobs for Medical Assistants

Discover What Other Jobs a Medical Assistant Can Apply For

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The world of healthcare is constantly expanding. Between advancements in technology, a growing population, and the increased demand for more personal and specialized care, the healthcare industry’s growth consistently and significantly outpaces the general job market. One of the best ways to get a foot in the door of the healthcare industry is to become a Medical Assistant. Medical Assistants are healthcare professionals that support physicians, physicians’ assistants, and other healthcare professionals in various clinical settings.

While becoming a Medical Assistant provides a great deal of job and income satisfaction, many see it as the perfect springboard to advance their healthcare industry career. Medical Assistant training can serve as an excellent foundation for other healthcare careers with greater responsibility, greater pay, and even greater satisfaction.

Click here to read our comprehensive guide on how to become a Medical Assistant.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical Assistants (MAs) earn their title through certification from an accredited program, and their tasks range from measuring vital signs and performing lab tests to greeting patients and scheduling appointments. MAs also routinely use new medical technology to maintain electronic health records, communicate with patients, and even prepare for their own professional certification exams.

What Other Jobs Can a Medical Assistant Apply For?

There are a variety of healthcare career options available to you once you’ve earned your Medical Assistant diploma. Each of these careers has its own unique job responsibilities, requirements, certifications, salary, and job outlook.

To help you further understand each of these alternative jobs for Medical Assistants, we’ve put together a career guide that will dive into eight of the most common alternative career options for Medical Assistants.

Whether you’re considering enrolling in a Medical Assistant program or you’re an MA looking for a career change, this article will serve as a helpful resource to guide your search for the best healthcare career for you.

Phlebotomy Technician

1. Phlebotomy Technician

What Does a Phlebotomy Technician Do?

Phlebotomy technicians are responsible for drawing blood from patients for donations, lab tests, and other sample issues. These blood samples are then examined in laboratories in order to help diagnose health conditions and illnesses.

Where Do Phlebotomy Technicians Work?

Phlebotomy Technicians work primarily in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and medical and diagnostic labs. Some Phlebotomy Technicians will also occasionally travel to patients’ homes, long-term care centers, and any other healthcare setting where blood is drawn.

Phlebotomy Technician Education and Training

Although basic phlebotomy will be a part of your Medical Assistant training, some employers require additional certification for these jobs. To become certified, you must pass the Phlebotomy Technician Certification exam provided by The National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Why is Phlebotomy Technician a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

With short training programs and exposure to various other healthcare roles, becoming a Phlebotomy Technician is an excellent option for Medical Assistants. Plus, Medical Assistants have already received basic phlebotomy through their MA diploma program.

Phlebotomy Technician Salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for a Phlebotomy Technician is about $18, with an annual average salary of about $36,000. However, Phlebotomy Technicians in the top 90th percentile can earn as much as $24 an hour with an annual salary of $49,000.

Phlebotomy Technician Job Outlook

The importance of their work and an unending need for what they do help to create a bright job outlook for Phlebotomy Technicians. The BLS reports that the overall employment of phlebotomists is expected to grow around 17% by 2029, putting them several points above other healthcare professionals (14%) and well above the overall national job outlook (4%).

Learn More

Click here to learn how to become a Phlebotomy Technician

EKG Technician

2. EKG Technician

What Does an EKG Technician Do?

EKG Technicians are responsible for administering various cardiovascular tests, though primarily of course electrocardiograms (EKG). They attach wires to patients’ arms, chest, and legs, monitoring EKG readings and reporting test results. They may also take a patient’s medical history, ask questions, keep equipment in working order, and help physicians during procedures.

Where Do EKG Technicians Work?

EKG Technicians work in various healthcare facilities, including hospitals, cardiologists’ offices, GP offices, and in-patient and outpatient facilities.

EKG Technician Education and Training

Non-degree EKG Technician programs are available; however, most employers offer on-the-job training. Some employers may prefer that you have prior experience and healthcare training, giving Medical Assistants a competitive advantage in this field.

Why is EKG Technician a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

For Medical Assistants looking to further their healthcare careers, becoming an EKG Technician is a great option, offering full or part-time employment. While EKG Technician certification is not always a requirement, the process of getting certified is quick and free of student debt. With a growing job market and opportunity for advancement, being an EKG Technician is a great career path for Medical Assistants.

EKG Technician Salaries

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for an EKG Technician is about $29, with an annual average salary of about $60,000. However, EKG Technicians in the top 90th percentile can earn as much as $46 an hour with an annual salary of $95,000.

EKG Technician Job Outlook

The essential nature of their work and an unending need for what they do help to create a bright job outlook for EKG Technicians. The BLS reports that the overall employment of EKG Technicians is expected to grow around 5% by 2029, putting them above the overall national job outlook (4%).

Learn More

Click here to learn how to become an EKG Technician

Medical Office Assistant

3. Medical Office Assistant

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

Often referred to as medical secretaries, Medical Office Assistants (MOAs) use their knowledge of medical terminology and specific applications within hospitals and clinics to perform various administrative functions. They are typically the first person a patient meets in a physician’s office, which means friendliness is an asset. They are also generally responsible for many of the routine tasks that keep a medical office running smoothly, including medical billing, accounting, scheduling, and filing insurance claims.

Where Do Medical Office Assistants Work?

Medical Office Assistants perform their valuable services in various healthcare settings, including private practices, hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, outpatient care facilities, and hospice facilities.

Medical Office Assistant Education and Training

Most Medical Office Assistants complete a medical assisting program through a vocational school or community college. Upon earning your MA diploma, you’ll be qualified to work as a Medical Office Assistant.

Why is a Medical Office Assistant a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

Becoming a Medical Office Assistant is a seamless transition for any Medical Assistants looking to further their healthcare career and build lasting relationships. Medical Office Assistants meet new people on a daily basis while providing compassionate care and service to patients and families. Not only are they in high demand, but they are called on to fulfill vital tasks in a wide variety of healthcare settings, leading to a high level of job satisfaction.

Medical Office Assistant Salaries

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for a Medical Office Assistant is about $18, with an annual average salary of about $38,000. However, Medical Office Assistants in the top 90th percentile can earn as much as $26 an hour with an annual salary of $53,000.

Medical Office Assistant Job Outlook

Although the BLS does not report any specific data regarding the job outlook of MOAs, they do report that overall employment of Medical Assistants is expected to grow around 19% by 2029, putting them several points above other healthcare professionals (14%) and well above the overall national job outlook (4%).

Learn More

Click here to learn how to become a Medical Office Assistant

Medical Claims Examiner

4. Medical Claims Examiner

What Does a Medical Claims Examiner Do?

Medical Claims Examiners are responsible for reviewing healthcare insurance claims for informational integrity and adherence to the standard guidelines and timeliness of claims processing. Medical Claims Examiners may then approve insurance payments or not. They may also then be called upon to facilitate further investigation as deemed necessary.

Where Do Medical Claims Examiners Work?

Medical Claims Examiners usually work for healthcare insurance companies within insurance company office environments, while others may work within hospital office environments.

Medical Claims Examiner Education and Training

Although there are no standard educational requirements for Medical Claims Examiners, most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. In contrast, others may prefer a bachelor’s degree in a medical discipline or life science. Some Medical Claims Examiners may choose to pursue certification from the International Claims Association.

Why is a Medical Claims Examiner a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

For detail-oriented people with strong administrative skills and knowledge of medical terminology, Medical Assistants looking to change careers can find a great deal of satisfaction as a Medical Claims Examiner. Many employers also prefer candidates with diplomas or degrees related to the medical field. Insurance examiners play a large role in helping people get back on their feet, leading to a great deal of job satisfaction.

Medical Claims Examiner Salaries

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for a Medical Claims Examiner is about $33, with an annual average salary of about $69,000. However, Medical Claims Examiner in the top 90th percentile can earn as much as $48 an hour with an annual salary of $100,000.

Medical Claims Examiner Job Outlook

Although their work is vital to the healthcare industry, the job outlook for Medical Claims Examiners is not as promising as other professions, especially within healthcare. Technology has enabled hospitals and insurance agencies to reduce the need for human involvement. The BLS reports that the overall employment of claim adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators is expected to decline by around 6% by 2029.

Learn More

Click here to learn how to become a Medical Claims Examiner

Health Information Technician

5. Health Information Technician

What Does a Health Information Technician Do?

Health Information Technicians are responsible for managing patient medical records, compiling, coding, organizing, and evaluating on behalf of hospitals and other healthcare facilities. They use a variety of indices, classification systems, and storage retrieval systems to organize records to be quickly and efficiently retrieved. They also check medical records and charts for correctness and completeness and create new records for new patients and close records at the time of discharge.

Where Do Health Information Technicians Work?

Health Information Technicians work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including physicians’ offices, private practices, hospitals, and clinics.

Health Information Technician Education and Training

Because of the need for a multidisciplinary knowledge of medicine, IT, management, law, and finance, becoming a Health Information Technician usually requires an associate’s degree from an accredited community college or online distance learning program.

Why is a Health Information Technician a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

Becoming a Health Information Technician can be an excellent choice for Medical Assistants interested in continuing their healthcare careers in the technology or informational areas. Though they don’t work one-on-one with patients, they work typical office hours. Medical Assistants who enjoy working with data and want to make a difference in healthcare should consider becoming a Health Information Technician.

Health Information Technician Salaries

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for Health Information Technicians is about $22, with an annual average salary of $47,000. However, Health Information Technicians in the top 90th percentile can earn as much as $34 an hour with an annual salary of $71,000.

Health Information Technician Job Outlook

The importance of their work and an unending need for what they do help to create a bright job outlook for Health Information Technicians. The BLS reports that the overall employment of Health Information Technicians is expected to grow by around 8% by 2029, putting them several points below other healthcare professionals (14%) but well above the overall national job outlook (4%).

Learn More

Click here to learn how to become a Health Information Technician

Surgical Technologist

6. Surgical Technologist

What Does a Surgical Technologist Do?

Surgical Technologists (also known as surgical technicians) help prepare operating rooms and patients for surgical procedures. They also sterilize instruments, arrange equipment and even assist in surgical operations, including holding retractors for the surgeons. Surgical Technologists are often called on to dress wounds after operations and accompany patients to the recovery room.

Where Do Surgical Technologists Work?

Surgical Technologists work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, and even dentists’ offices.

Surgical Technologist Education and Training

To work as a Surgical Technologist, you’ll need to earn certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). In order to sit for their certification exam, you’ll need to complete a surgical technology program from an accredited school.

Why is a Surgical Technologist a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

Becoming a Surgical Technologist can be an excellent choice for Medical Assistants interested in continuing their healthcare careers in a higher-pressure environment and with the added responsibilities and intensity of surgical settings. The job market for Surgical Technologists is good, they get to work with the latest technologies, and there is rarely a routine day. They play an important role on an important team, and they help to save lives every day.

Surgical Technologist Salaries

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for Surgical Technologists is about $24, with an annual average salary of about $50,000. However, Surgical Technologists in the top 90th percentile can earn as much as $34 an hour with an annual salary of $71,000.

Surgical Technologist Job Outlook

The essential nature and skill of their work help to create a bright job outlook for Surgical Technologists. The BLS reports that the overall employment of Surgical Technologists is expected to grow by around 7% by 2029, putting them several points below other healthcare professionals (14%) but above the overall national job outlook (4%).

Learn More

Click here to learn how to become a Surgical Technologist

Nursing Assistant

7. Nursing Assistant

What Does a Nursing Assistant Do?

Nursing Assistants help patients of all ages perform basic daily tasks. Due to their extensive daily contact with patients, they play a vital role in their lives.

Some of a Nursing Assistant’s daily tasks include helping patients with feeding, bathing, dressing, making beds, assisting in bathroom needs, taking vital signs, aiding in exercises, and numerous other daily patient necessities.

Where Do Nursing Assistant Work?

Nursing Assistants work in nursing homes, home care, assisted living facilities, hospice facilities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and even correctional institutions.

Nursing Assistant Education and Training

Becoming a Nursing Assistant does not require a college degree. However, a high school diploma or equivalent is required, and special training results in a post-secondary, non-degree certificate or diploma. Because credentials are issued by each state, prospects must enroll in state-sanctioned training programs and pass a state certification exam. Most of the training you’ll receive in an MA program can be applied to a Nursing Assistant career.

Why is a Nursing Assistant a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

Becoming a Nursing Assistant provides a wide variety of benefits, including the most popular among healthcare professionals—the opportunity to make a difference. For those interested in taking their careers even further, there are great networking connections, and the experience makes it easier to gain acceptance into advanced nursing programs.

Nursing Assistant Salaries

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for Nursing Assistants is about $15, with an annual average salary of about $31,000. However, Nursing Assistants in the top 90th percentile can earn as much as $20 an hour with an annual salary of $41,000.

Nursing Assistant Job Outlook

The vital nature and skill of their work help to create a bright job outlook for nursing assistants. The BLS reports that overall employment for Nursing Assistants is expected to grow by around 8% by 2029, putting them several points below other healthcare professionals (14%) but well above the overall national job outlook (4%).

Home Health Aide

8. Home Health Aide

What Does a Home Health Aide Do?

Home Health Aides provide loving care for patients, helping to promote healing and overall well-being. They care for patients suffering from chronic illnesses and disabilities and the elderly, and those who need continuous care while living at home. Their job is a matter of building trust with the patient and their families as they serve as the eyes and ears of doctors and nurses. The close relationship they share with patients, in their most personal environments, often makes them the first to notice changes in patients’ conditions.

Where Do Home Health Aide Work?

Home Health Aides work in patients’ homes, though they are employed by staffing agencies, hospice facilities, and home health agencies.

Home Health Aide Education and Training

Although there are no formal educational requirements to become a Home Health Aide, a high school diploma or equivalent is standard. Most Nursing Assistants receive on-the-job training after obtaining employment, although certification is required by many employers, entailing 75 hours of training and demonstration of various basic skills.

Why is a Becoming Home Health Aide a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

Becoming a Home Health Aide is meaningful work with the real, everyday opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives. They work on flexible schedules providing comfort and companionship to those who need it most. They allow patients the comfort of staying in their own homes instead of care facilities while maintaining the potential for on-going personal growth and professional development. Medical Assistants can apply their training directly to the Home Health Aide role, making it a great alternative career path for MAs. The demand for Home Health Aides is high, and the vast majority find it to be a gratifying career.

Home Health Aide Salaries

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for a Home Health Aide is about $13, with an annual average salary of about $26,000. However, Home Health Aide in the top 90th percentile can earn as much as $16 an hour with an annual salary of $34,000.

Home Health Aide Job Outlook

Due to the growing and aging population, along with the expanding desire of patients to remain in the comfort of their own homes, the job outlook for Home Health Aides is outstanding. The BLS reports that overall employment for Nursing Assistants is expected to grow by around 34% by 2029, putting them well above other healthcare professionals (14%) and even further above the overall national job outlook (4%).

Start by Earning Your Medical Assistant Diploma

By earning your medical assistant diploma, you open up the door to several different job opportunities. For some of these jobs, your education and training will set you up to easily transition to those roles without any additional requirements. For others, your medical assisting diploma can serve as the foundation for the specialized training and examinations those jobs require. Overall, earning your MA diploma will serve you very well if any of these alternative jobs pique your interest.

If you’re ready to take the next step, start by earning your Medical Assistant diploma in as little as 10 months at Brookline College.

Click here to learn more about our Medical Assistant program.